Doom

Doom VFR Review

It’s one thing to step into 2016’s Doom and witness its version of hell in all its modern, HD glory. It’s another thing entirely to step out of a portal in the new Doom VFR and suddenly find yourself inescapably surrounded by fire and death. Hell has been made more harrowing and real than ever before, and Doom VFR leverages this to present a new tale. But a big issue is that compared to last year’s hit, Doom VFR is more conservative with its action, stingier with the bloody, brutal joys that were part and parcel of Doom’s successful return to the stage.

Doom VFR is a pseudo-sequel set one year after the events of the last game, where a milquetoast UAC employee, Adams, finds himself knocked out after a face-to-face encounter with a demon after a portal to Hell opens. When he wakes up, he’s connected to a virtual reality rig, allowing him to pilot a holographic representation of his body around the facility to try and shut the portal to Hell for good. Right off the bat, the priorities are different than before. Adams is a generic cypher whose voice is present only to tell us what piece of expensive tech is broken in the Mars facility and how to fix it. That meticulous fawning over UAC equipment is the kind of legwork that the Doomslayer–the series’ faceless Marine protagonist–never had a whole lot of time for. The guy who cocked his shotgun to the chugging beat of his own theme song has been replaced by a guy who’s essentially reading a UAC instruction manual at the beginning of each stage, robbing the game of its familiar brutal charm.

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Thankfully, when it’s demon killing time, Adams knows to shut his mouth and let the guns and Mick Gordon’s metal soundtrack do the talking. There’re three ways to play on PSVR: with a DualShock 4, with two Playstation Move controllers, or with the gun-shaped Aim controller. The Dualshock 4 handles like the non-VR Doom, just with a Teleport button, which has become the standard mode of movement in VR shooters. There’s also a new Shield Burst ability, a crowd-control function allowing you to repulse all enemies halfway across the room with an overloaded electrical shield. The Dualshock 4 is certainly functional for the game, but it’s also the least immersive option available.

Playing with Move controllers fares the worst. Aiming with the right controller feels natural, but actual movement is handled by a quick dash function using the left controller’s buttons as directional inputs, which leaves absolutely zero room for the kind of precision you need to survive.

The Aim controller is the ideal. It’s not perfect either–for some reason, the PSVR’s camera tracking on the Aim seems to drift more than normal, which is a problem if you’re trying to use one of the larger weapons, like the Gauss Cannon–but it is by far the most gratifying way to play, using the same mix of movement controls as the DualShock 4 but with a prop in your hand that feels more inline with your actions. White knuckle clutching a physical rifle while the forces of Hell charge ahead puts you into the right mode to slay demons, and feels exactly like the kind of experience the Aim was made for.

For the most part, shooting your way through Hell’s armies feels just as brutal as it does in the 2016 game. Demons explode into bloody, fleshy messes. Arenas are wide open, encouraging constant awareness of your surroundings, something made much more efficient with the Teleport function. The entirety of the enemy roster returns here, from the nimble, annoying Imps to the towering Barons, but VR puts them right in your face, making the physical act of pulling the trigger point blank all the more satisfying. The big missing element here is the Glory Kill system, where hitting the melee button on a blinking enemy let you demolish them with a quick, gruesome fatality. The replacement in Doom VFR is the ability to teleport into a blinking enemy and explode them from the inside. It mechanically gets the job done, but it’s less impactful than it sounds, and pales in comparison to tearing enemies limb from limb.

Perhaps the ultimate complaint is that for a game that’s so good at delivering fast-paced combat, it’s strangely shy about letting you do so for extended periods of time. The campaign itself is only about 4 hours long, minus extra time spent exploring for collectibles and power-ups, with only the added bonus of playing some old-school Doom maps in VR–admittedly, a ridiculously fun, nostalgic bonus–to pad things out. Much of your time in the game is spent wandering the UAC facility, waiting for the chance to unleash wrath on Hell’s inner circle. When you do, it can feel great, but Doom VFR feels like a game unsure of whether that’s the case. The result is a game that feels tentative about its own considerable power.

GameSpot Reviews

This Clue From the New Game of Thrones Teaser Could Spell Doom for Daenerys

After finally revealing when Game of Thrones will return for its seventh season Thursday, HBO released an foreboding teaser for the upcoming seven-episode installment.

The 90-second clip is largely devoted to recapping the events of the previous six seasons using voiceovers and giant stone versions of the major house sigils. But things really start to get interesting around the halfway mark when Daenerys delivers her now-iconic line about Westeros’ spinning wheel of power.

“Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell — they’re all just spokes on a wheel,” she says as the dragon sigil rises to the top once more. “This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground.”

However, the voiceover notably omits the second part of her declaration—”I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel”—seeming to hint that everything may not go according to plan for Khaleesi.

It’s then, of course, that the dragon sigil ominously begins to crumble.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO for a seventh season on July 16, 2017.

 


TIME

Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian: A Turbulent Timeline of Doom

Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian have the most toxic relationship in the spotlight. 

They became a couple under the strangest of circumstances. At one point, the whole world thought it was a joke. 

With the relationship drama getting crazier by the day, we have created a timeline of their turbulent relationship. 

With the pair doing practically anything to get in the headlines, their relationship has been widely publicized. 

Let's run down it down from the beginning:

1. January 2016: It Started With An Arm

Blac chyna and rob kardashian
Everyone was shocked when Chyna took a picture of a man with tattoo-clad arm. The shock stemmed from the fact that everyone was certain it was Rob Kardashian. They were right.

2. February 2016: Sex With Chyna Is GREAT

Blac chyna with portrait rob kardashian bought her
Rob Kardashian revealed that sex with Chyna was more important than his family. He then bought his girlfriend a $ 35,000 portrait of herself which was coated with diamond dust. Later that month, Chyna defended Rob when trolls made comments about his weight.

3. March 2016: Family Time With a Hint of Drama

Rob and blac at legoland
Blac revealed she wanted to get married, while Kris Jenner revealed she had not seen much of Blac, but felt that she was a nice girl. This was around the time Kris and the rest of the Kardashian-Jenners were allegedly trying to break the couple up. Rob celebrated his 29th birthday with his family, without Chyna. This paved the way for numerous reports that they broke up. However, Rob put these to bed and said he and Chyna celebrated his birthday the day earlier.

4. April 2016: A Truce Between The Kardashians & Chyna

Blac chyna and rob kardashian with lambo
Blac squashed her beef with the Kardashians, paving the way for she and Rob to get engaged. The drama was far from over when it emerged that Tokyo Toni banned the Kardashians from the wedding. Rob gifted Chyna with a purple lamborghini after she helped him lose 50 pounds.

5. May 2016: The Pregnancy

Blac chyna pregnant on instagram
Rob continued to shower Chyna with gifts. His best one yet was 28 bouquets of flowers for her 28th birthday. Then, the pregnancy rumors began when an emoji of a pregnant Chyna emerged.

6. June 2016: Keeping Up with Rob and Chyna

Blac chyna with red curls
Kris Jenner gave in and allowed Chyna to appear on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Rob and Chyna got their own reality series, but pictures showed that storylines were pretty fake. Things got a little out of hand when Blac’s expensive taste was allegedly causing Rob to go broke.

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The Hollywood Gossip

Doom Review

In Doom, I see a world brimming with demons, explosions, and hellfire. I see familiar faces screaming, with bloodthirsty eyes and unwavering stares. Playing it delivers the same cathartic craze the original Doom and Doom II did in the early ’90s: overwhelmed by the horrors around every turn, but empowered with an impressive collection of weapons at the ready.

But the new Doom is louder and faster than the old model. Its battles ask more of you, and its heavy-metal soundtrack causes your body to quiver from turbulent surges of adrenaline. From the outset two things are made immediately clear: you were born to kill demons, and you’ll do anything it takes. You will wrench countless jaws from their joints and eviscerate the swollen flesh of your enemies between bouts of furious gunfire. These powerful moments carry what, at its core, is a simple game. The cadence of Doom’s campaign is unwavering to the point of predictability as you make multiple round-trips between Mars and the depths of hell. Each location bears its own distinct but static identity, and your return trips inspire more deja vu than surprise as you tread familiar ground on either side of the dimensional portal you’re charged with dismantling.

Into the belly of the beast we go.

You rarely take an unexpected turn, but any bothersome feelings this gives you are washed away the moment you enter battle. Doom equips you with a range of weapons that start simple and grow ever more elaborate. Not all are created equal, and there are some you will ignore for their lack of stopping power, but many are formidable, and a near constant stream of upgrades allows you to tweak your favorites in order to give them greater functionality and strength–more cause for attachment to, and wonder in, the power at your fingertips.

This power extends to Glory Kills, Doom’s contextual dismemberment techniques that can be triggered when you cause an enemy to stagger. They are the embodiment of gore fetishization, offering multiple ways to tear enemies into pieces, dependant on your angle of approach. Glory Kills are also strategically valuable. Enemies occasionally drop health items and ammo when felled by a gun, but you’re guaranteed an injection of health when you flay your opponents using your bare hands–and occasionally with a body part of their own. This incentivizes you to rush in even when on the brink, offering hope at the end of a potentially deadly tunnel. Similarly, you also collect a chainsaw that can rip demons in half as a one-hit kill, which causes ammo to spout from their corpses. Your chainsaw requires precious fuel and should be used sparingly, and figuring out the best time to use it becomes a tense mind game of its own.

The rhythm of combat–which almost always begins as a plainly presented lockdown in a room–grows increasingly hard and fast over the course of Doom’s thirteen missions. Larger and more dangerous demons appear over time, and in greater numbers. As you weave and leap around maze-like arenas to improve your vantage and search for much-needed supplies, you function like a magnet, drawing enemies toward you. As you do, the once-disparate groups in an arena become concentrated. The effect of this is that you can put your explosive munitions to good use and inflict heaps of damage to multiple enemies at once. But there is a downside: you can quickly back yourself into a corner as you retreat. Despite this danger, herding enemies is par for the course in Doom as it’s often the most viable tactic. This plays into the cyclical murderous bliss of Doom: round and round we go.

The tension of facing increasingly durable enemies gives this system longevity despite its repetitiveness. Bipedal imps give way to towering, bloated monstrosities, powerful stampeding beasts, and disembodied flaming skulls. To keep up with the horde, you must use resources earned for your past feats to modify and upgrade your weapons with new capabilities. This steadily feeds into your brash and violent persona in order to maintain the high of combat in the face of your growing tolerance for all things brutal. Where a shotgun blast to the face was once satisfying and effective enough, you ultimately desire the thrill and power of unleashing a mortar-like cluster bomb from your double-barrelled best friend. When he’s spent, you’ll be thankful you upgraded your heavy assault rifle with micro-missiles that pierce the air with a subtle whistle before lodging under the skin of a demon and exploding, one after another.

Where a shotgun blast to the face was once satisfying and effective enough, you ultimately desire the thrill and power of unleashing a mortar-like cluster bomb from your double-barrelled best friend.

Upgrades can be earned by sweeping maps of demons, or discovered by exploring every inch of Doom’s environments. Both techniques demand diligence. Secrets and hidden areas aren’t new to Doom, but the variety of rewards you can reap are greater than ever. Every bit of hardware, including weapons, armor, and their underlying software, can be augmented in multiple ways. Nevertheless, you come across your fair share of upgrades even if you stay on the beaten path, and you’ll probably want to as the thrill of combat gets under your skin. The process of awkwardly platforming your way across Doom’s maps grows increasingly tiresome as your pulse drops to a murmur, and your patience for anything other than combat wears thin. The advent of Rune Challenges mixes this up a bit, offering self-contained tasks that momentarily take you out of missions and into tiny arenas where you need to defeat enemies under strict conditions. As enjoyable as these can be, they don’t hold a candle to mission combat and eventually become an afterthought as you seek your next battle.

When Doom funnels you from one location to the next, it introduces brief moments that tell your story, and the story of the energy-obsessed Union Aerospace Corporation. It’s the UAC’s ill-conceived decision to tap into Hell’s energy resources that created the portal between dimensions in the first place, and though you are an agent of the UAC in a way, yours is a reluctant enlistment. The tale of your involvement carries a certain gravitas in the way it speaks of legends and dark messiahs, but it ultimately amounts to little more than window dressing to justify your actions.

Say “hello” to my not-so-little friend.

When your journey comes to a close, you will have spent close to a dozen hours in the thick of it, the last of which are punctuated with riveting boss fights and seemingly impossible odds. With a flush arsenal and enhanced physical abilities, you may opt to return to previous missions and find items you may have missed, or lay waste at higher difficulty levels, but multiplayer awaits those who seek something new. Apart from a few multiplayer-exclusive weapons and the ability to play as demons during portions of a match, there’s actually very little new about Doom’s multiplayer. Its modes are few, delivering the expected assortment of match types, including team deathmatch and domination challenges, and a couple fun diversions like freeze tag. By and large, you won’t find much in multiplayer that hasn’t been done before, but what’s there is enjoyable in small doses thanks to the fast pace of combat and the explosive nature of Doom’s weaponry.

Doom is straightforward and simple, but it serves its purpose: to thrust you into increasingly dire scenarios fueled by rage and the spirit of heavy metal.

More impressive than multiplayer is Snap Map, a mode that allows you to create and share both multi- and single-player maps online. Tutorials walk you through the steps involved in creating a map, which is intuitive to begin with. Beyond ease-of-use, Snap Map will live or die through the creativeness of the community, which has already made a strong showing, delivering a range of maps that range from brutal to absurdly entertaining. More than multiplayer, Snap Map is the cherry on top of the new Doom.

But without a doubt, the loud and chaotic campaign is Doom’s strongest component. It’s straightforward and simple, but it serves its purpose: to thrust you into increasingly dire scenarios fueled by rage and the spirit of heavy metal. Many shooters chase the thrill Doom delivers, but few are as potent in their execution. It captures the essence of what made the classic Doom games touchstones of their day, and translates it to suit modern palates with impressively rendered hellscapes and a steady influx of tantalizing upgrades. Doom is the product of a tradition as old as shooters, and while it’s not the model to follow in every case, modern shooters could learn a thing or two from Doom’s honed and unadulterated identity.

GameSpot Reviews